A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to!
It’s a late Tuesday night and the start of the week wasn’t the best. Additionally, I’m running on 6.5hrs of interrupted sleep and I am feeling it and have felt it all day.
Still, I promised a weekly newsletter. You’re getting a weekly newsletter. Even if it’s late.
For the week—I’m pretending it’s last week—I’ve been engrossed with talks and lectures from Steven Pinker
. In particular, talks regarding his book The Sense of Style
. If that book sounds familiar, then I will take credit for referencing it in a previous newsletter
Before diving into the text of the book, I already have such gems such as the passive and active voice. Despite the overwhelming advice to write in active voice, there are times it just doesn’t work. Context matters. And this is mostly left out when others give writing advice. Who or what should the reader focus on? The doer? Or the done-to?
“The ball was kicked by Mark.” The ball is the subject. Kick is the verb. Should the ball be the focus?
“Mark kicked the ball.” Mark is the subject. Kick is the verb. Should Mark be the focus?
A weak example but this is where writing style comes into play. What’s that saying—know the rules to break them. All rules are tools for the writer. You can write passive sentences; it puts the focus where you want the reader to be. Eschew your comma and embrace the run-on sentences; it can show the reader the mental state of the character or portray a stream-of-conscious style.
Write. Have fun. Take writing advice with a grain of salt. Learn and understand the language syntax. Then bend it to your will. Rules are tools.
I can’t wait to actually read the book.